Children were dead for several hours before crash
Murder inquiry launched into the deaths of Ruairí (5) and Eoghan (10) Chada
Michelle Doorley principal at the National School at Ballinkillen, Co Carlow reading a statement in regards to the deaths of five-year-old Ruairí Chada and his 10-year-old brother Eoghan, pupils of her school. In the background are teachers and staff. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan.
Gardaí are treating as a murder inquiry their investigation into the deaths of Ruairí (5) and Eoghan (10) Chada after postmortems on their remains found they had died at the hands of a third party.
Their father Sanjeev Chada was still undergoing medical treatment in Westport, Co Mayo, late last night but he is expected to be discharged today. Gardaí plan to interview him as soon as he is discharged.
He had been driving in his car with his sons’ bodies in the boot for several hours before he crashed the vehicle on Monday afternoon.
The remains of the two boys were found in the boot of the family’s green Ford Focus when it crashed at Clooneen, Rossbeg, some six kilometres from Westport, at about 3.30pm on Monday.
Postmortems were concluded late last night by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar and they concluded the boys were killed by a third party.
The exact results were not released last night but The Irish Times understands they died of asphyxiation, a condition that can be caused by choking, strangulation or smothering.
Mr Chada was found with a ligature around his neck in his crashed car but he had not suffered life-threatening injuries.
Garda sources said he was suffering from whiplash consistent with airbags activating when he hit a wall at high speed.
He had also sustained soft tissue injuries, or bruising, caused by the seatbelt pulling hard across his chest on impact.
Gardaí believe they have substantially traced the movements of his car from when he left home with his sons, ostensibly to go bowling in nearby Carlow town. However, he never returned home and his wife – the boys’ mother Kathleen Chada – reported all three missing at about 1.30am on Monday.
The only contact Mr Chada made while he and his sons were being searched for by gardaí was a distressed phone call to a family member. This immediately gave rise to fears he was in mental crisis and his sons’ safety at risk.
However, despite a nationwide search, Mr Chada and his sons were not located until Monday afternoon’s crash, by which time the boys had been dead for some time.